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7 Sensational Weekend Getaways


Summers and vacations are like ice cream and cones: You can have the former without the latter, but it’s a lot less fun. Make every last lick of this favorite season last with a weekend getaway. All you have to do is leave work a little early on Friday and you’ll be back at your desk by Monday morning, refreshed and ready to go.

We’ve rounded up a few options in California and even a couple here at home.


Mammoth may be Southern California’s go-to getaway for winter adventures, but it’s also a spectacular spot come summer, especially at the Westin Monache Resort, just a few steps from the village. Enjoy your fresh mountain air in high style with the Westin’s Luxury Package, which includes a hot air balloon ride for two, two rounds of golf at Snowcreek Golf Course (cart included), two in-room hour-long massages, a wine-and-cheese welcome amenity, and daily breakfast for two at Whitebark. Beyond the hotel, you’ll find no shortage of outdoorsy activities like hiking, biking, and fishing.

Alaska Airlines flies direct to Mammoth, so it’s a short trip up. And don’t forget that Yosemite National Park, easily one of the most perfect natural places on earth, is only three-and-a-half hours away. There’s a daily shuttle called the YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) that takes visitors for a short-but-sweet visit. From $669. (www.westinmammoth.com)

Among the chicest West Coast cities, San Francisco is a quick flight from San Diego, making it an ideal mini-vacation destination. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, which spans San Francisco to Marin County and is probably the world’s most stunning — and photographed — suspension bridge. The Hotel Palomar is celebrating its legacy with a special Golden Gate Suite, available through the end of the year. Guests who stay in the suite — which features furniture designed by a local artist with steel taken from the iconic bridge — will enjoy a complimentary cocktail inspired by the bridge, as well as a book about its history and keepsake luggage tags. Ask the concierge for tips on the city’s best culinary and cocktail offerings; San Francisco is a foodie’s delight. From $439. (www.hotelpalomar.com)

A four-hour drive from Downtown San Diego — or a relaxing train ride on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner — Santa Barbara is one of the prettiest places on the coast. At the historic San Ysidro Ranch, which earned a Best Resort nod in 2010 from Travel + Leisure, guests can unwind amid the splendor of the surroundings, which epitomize old California glamour. The exclusive 500-acre resort, tucked in the lush Montecito foothills, has drawn worldly travelers — including celebrities, notable writers, and politicians — since it debuted in 1893.

San Ysidro’s Ranch Indulgence Package includes bottle of chilled Champagne upon arrival, an American in-cottage breakfast, and a choice of a wine tour, spa day, or golf outing. From $1,000, two-night minimum stay. (www.sanysidroranch.com)

Just 22 miles from the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina Island feels like a world away. It’s especially popular with families; with options ranging from the utterly relaxed to adrenaline-spiking, everyone will find something entertaining to do. The recently upgraded Catalina Resort has partnered with the Santa Catalina Island Company to offer guests outdoor adventures to remember.

Try the Night Zip, which sends the bold and brave on a zip line — at speeds up to 45 miles an hour some 300 feet above the canyon floor — in complete darkness. Too scary? They offer a daylight Zip Line Eco Tour, as well. Or you could just lie on the beach all day. Catch the ferry to Catalina from Long Beach, San Pedro, Marina Del Rey, Dana Point, or Newport Beach. (www.unlimitedcatalina.com)

Here’s the thing about the desert in the summer: Those very hot days, which are perfect for long dips in a pool, lead to wonderfully warm evenings under the stars. At the 433-room Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, parents can enjoy the stylishly appointed accommodations, 22,000-square-foot spa, and world-class golf and tennis courses, while kids go wild at Splashtopia, a water playground replete with slides and a river.

The resort’s Family Summer Getaway Package features a freshly updated room, a summer passport with more than $500 worth of coupons, two inner tubes to keep, a $50 breakfast credit to bluEmber or Palms Café, and the daily resort charge. Palm Springs is just a short drive away for an afternoon outing, too. From $169. (www.rancholaspalmas.com)

Short on time? You don’t need to head out of town to take a vacation. You’re in San Diego, after all, one of the most visitor-friendly cities in the U.S.

Fans of the races, one of San Diego’s signature summer offerings, might opt for the Grand Del Mar’s Day at the Races Package (subject to availability), which includes one night’s accommodations and valet parking, two Stretch Run Reserved seats at the Del Mar Race Track, a racing form and a copy of Racing Digest, transportation to and from the track, and two mint juleps when you return. From $475. And don’t forget about The Grand Del Mar’s summer concerts package starting in mid-July. (www.thegranddelmar.com)

Located right in the heart of Del Mar Village, L’Auberge Del Mar is another fabulous spot for staying put in San Diego. And, since everybody knows that calories don’t count on vacations — or staycations — why not sip and savor in style? L’Auberge’s Foodie’s Delight Package fits the bill. It includes a $150 credit for Kitchen 1540, the hip restaurant where new executive chef Scott Thomas Dolbee has created a critically acclaimed menu. From $299 a night, two-night minimum. The hotel also offers a luxe spa package. Bonus: You’re in easy walking distance of Del Mar’s best shopping. No driving required! (www.laubergedelmar.com)      ANNAMARIA STEPHENS


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